Impact statement not required to assess impact

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Changes to the ‘Major Transport Projects’ Act mean the impact statement on the east west link is no longer required to assess the impact of the project.

The  Major Transport Projects Facilitation Amendment (East West Link and Other Projects) Bill 2013 , passed by the Napthine government on 4 September and now in force, dilutes the requirements of the comprehensive impact statement.

The changes, opposed by the Labor opposition and the Greens, mean the statement no longer needs an assessment of the impacts of the project, nor the methods considered to “avoid, minimise, or manage” the impacts.

The statement need only be “substantially in accordance with” rather than “comply” with the the scoping directions for the project, and does not have to include an exhaustive list of all the approvals required for the project to proceed.

At the time, Premier Napthine said “this legislation will ensure state-significant projects such as the East West Link, the Port of Hastings Development and Melbourne Metro are not held up by onerous administrative processes”.

Shadow Minister for Planning Brian Tee said the changes water down the process and remove the requirement to consider less damaging alternative construction routes or techniques.

“The community will be stuck with a proposal that does not properly consider options to reduce the impact on the community and the environment. Generations of Victorians could be victims of a process that lacks rigour and cuts corners,” he said

Leader of the Victorian Greens Greg Barber said during debate in parliament “the requirement for an assessment of the impacts of the declared project have been removed completely.  Let me just say that again in case anybody thinks I misspoke”.

Changes to the act:

Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009

 s.39 Content of comprehensive impact statements

A project proponent for a declared project must prepare a comprehensive impact statement for the project that to the satisfaction of the Secretary

(a) complies is substantially in accordance with the scoping directions for that statement; and

 (b) contains an assessment of the impacts of the declared project; and

 (c) sets out the options for the development of the declared project that have been considered, and the impacts for those options; and

 (d) sets out the methods considered to avoid, minimise, manage or offset the impacts referred to in paragraph (b) or (c); and

 (e) includes a description of the preferred option for the development of the declared project and the reasons for that preference; and

(f) sets out how any State environment protection policy or any waste management policy that applies in relation to the development and use of the declared project will be observed; and

(g) identifies all of the applicable approvals that will be are likely to be required under all applicable laws in order for the declared project to be developed, including any requirements under

(h) includes the information that would be required for the applicable law decisions to be made under all of the applicable laws that apply to the project including—

(i) a list of the mandatory applicable law criteria and discretionary applicable law criteria; and

(ii) information as to how the proponent considers the criteria referred to in subparagraph (i) apply; and

(ha) if the proponent is seeking a works approval, contains a copy of such plans, specifications and other information as are necessary to determine whether to grant the works approval; and

(i) in the case where the applicable approval that will be required is an amendment to a provision of a planning scheme—

(i) identifies every planning scheme that applies to the location or proposed location of the declared project; and

(ii) contains the proposed amendments to every provision of every planning scheme that will be required; and

(iii) contains an explanatory report for every proposed amendment to a provision of a planning scheme and any document to be applied, adopted or incorporated in any such amendment.


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One Comment on “Impact statement not required to assess impact”

  1. Murray November 8, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    Amazing stuff! Let’s design a mechanism for the protection of the community and then, when it looks like it might have teeth, call in the dentist!

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